The general recommendations are:

  • First priority is to get all passengers out of the vehicle and a safe distance from it.
  • Those passengers who are quickest and easiest to evacuate should disembark first.
  • Minibuses can burn out in 3-4 minutes and can fill with toxic smoke even quicker so do not waste time trying to put the fire out … PASSENGERS FIRST, YOU SECOND, PROPERTY LAST.

More specifically you should:

  • Stop the vehicle immediately and engage the handbrake.
  • Switch off engine and put vehicle into high gear in case of accidental engine re-ignition
  • Take control. Explain calmly but authoritatively that an emergency has arisen and that everyone must undo their seat belts and leave the vehicle by the nearest exit as soon as possible
  • Assist passengers to leave the vehicle and assemble a good distance away from it, closing the doors behind them.
  • Do a head count to ensure that everyone is out. If the vehicle is full of smoke you may not be able to see if anyone is left on board.
  • Call the emergency services using the 999 facility (999 or 112 on mobile ‘phones).
  • If you have time and it is safe to do so, remove the ignition key and close all windows.
  • If you think that the engine is on fire then release the bonnet catch if it is safe to do so, but DO NOT OPEN THE BONNET!
  • Tackle the fire ONLY IF IT SAFE TO DO SO and you are absolutely sure that in doing so there is no risk to you or any other people.
  • When the emergency services arrive, inform them if there is a hazardous load, for example gas canisters, aerosol cans, etc.
How To Assist Wheelchair Users In An Emergency

During an emergency situation you must exercise judgement as to whether it is safe for you to provide assistance. In assessing the situation, you should consider the following:

  • Have I had suitable training for this task?
  • Am I confident that I have the competence to carry out this task without serious injury to myself or to the passenger?
  • Do I need help with the task?

Although you have a duty of care towards the passenger you must make sure that you do not place yourself at risk during an emergency. Generally you should adopt an encouraging and reassuring manner and seek assistance before assisting wheelchair users.

If you have to assist wheelchair users in an emergency the following vehicle evacuation methods are recommended in order of preference:

  • Use the passenger lift. Even in a fire this is the safest way for wheelchair users to evacuate the vehicle.
  • If the lift cannot be used at all and another person is available, then lift the passenger while seated in the wheelchair through the vehicle door backwards.
  • If the wheelchair cannot be removed from its restraints, then lift the passenger, without the chair, through the door. This may require help from another person.